Kaiserschmarren: A Sweet Strawberry Soufléed Omelet from Spago and Sherry Yard


This is really a gussied up sweet omelet. I was introduced to this dessert by Sherry Yard of Spago fame. Indeed this homespun dessert is one of Wolfgang Puck’s favorites and is a menu staple at the Beverly Hills restaurant. It is easy, but you should make it last minute and serve it hot. The berry sauce can be made ahead, so plan accordingly. Read about my tour of duty in the Spago kitchen; it was an experience I will never forget.

Excerpted and Adapted from Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills: Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company 2007.

Kaiserschmarren is a large souffléed pancake. The name means, literally, “the Emperor’s little nothing.” This is one of those Austrian dessert items that will forever be on the Spago menu. Traditionally it’s a more savory affair, served to children on Sunday afternoons. We bake the pancakes in buttered and sugared baking dishes and serve them with a strawberry sauce, and we love to watch people’s eyes widen with pleasure and surprise when they taste them for the first time.

Makes: Serves 6 to 8
Strawberry Sauce:
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅔ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or rum
Sweet Souffléed Pancake:
  • ½ cup sugar plus more for preparing pans, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or rum
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons raisins or Fat Raisins
  • 8 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  1. For the Strawberry Sauce: Combine 2 cups of the strawberries and the 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining strawberries, the water, ⅔ cup sugar, orange juice, star anise and liqueur. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool. Discard star anise from sauce and press through a fine-meshed strainer reserving sauce; discard solids (or stir into yogurt for a snack). Combine fresh macerated berry mixture with strained sauce. Cover sauce with plastic wrap and allow to sit for up to 2 hours or refrigerate overnight in airtight container.
  3. For the Pancakes: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 2, 9-inch deep-dish pie plates, then add some sugar to each plate, coat completely and tap out any excess; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the crème fraiche and liqueur, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in the flour and the raisins; set aside.
  5. In a clean bowl, whip egg whites with clean beaters until foamy (a stand mixer is helpful with this amount of egg whites). Add cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form then add remaining sugar and beat until peaks are medium-stiff.
  6. Whisk half the egg whites into the crème fraiche base then gently fold in the rest. Divide batter amongst both pans. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn pans 180° in the oven and continue to bake 5 to 8 minutes or until puffed and browned. The center will be a bit softer than the edges. Sherry says it will be “pudding-like”.
  7. While the soufflé is baking, reheat the sauce. It can be warm or room temperature, but not cold.
  8. Serve while hot with sauce on the bottom of plates and spoonfuls of the souffléed pancake on top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

Top Image: Dédé Wilson

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